We all know that overeating can impact us physically, either by contributing to health issues or just putting us above our ideal weight. Yet how much you eat is also correlated with another significant outcome — keeping your body younger for longer.

A new research study conducted by Chinese and American scientists holds the notable distinction of being the most comprehensive and detailed study available on calorie restriction. While they did this study on rats, it corroborates the benefits that many people have claimed when practicing intermittent fasting.

Researchers kept two categories of mice to compare — those on a calorie-restricted diet who consumed 30% fewer calories than the other mice, which were maintained on a regular diet. At both the start and the end of the experiment, researchers extracted 168,703 cells from 40 various cell types in all the rats. Then they compared old and young mice on each diet type. Their findings were significant and might just give you the motivation you need to skip that late-night snack.

After comparing the mice, researchers found that the changes rats on the standard diet experienced as they aged didn’t happen to the mice who aged while on a calorie-restricted diet. These old mice on the calorie-restricted diet even had many of the sampled tissues and cells that resembled young mice. The big conclusion of this experiment was that 57 percent of the age-related changes in the cells of mice on a regular diet were not present in the calorie-restricted mice.

Overall, calorie-restricted mice showed better health in meaningful ways that humans often struggle with. Issues with inflammation and immunity were not seen in the cells of the calorie-restricted mice as compared with an increase in these problematic cells for the mice on a normal diet. The researchers are working on using these discoveries to create aging drugs as well as creating and implementing strategies that people can follow to gain the benefits of calorie-restriction.

You’re probably wondering what you can do to start healthily restricting your own calories. One of the best methods for calorie-restriction that’s safe and doable is intermittent fasting. Pick a day each week or even each month as you get started where you follow a long fast throughout the day. Research has already uncovered the many ways intermittent fasting works together with calorie-restriction to lengthen our lives and improve overall health.